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California Readies Autonomous Driving Bill

Will authorize testing of driverless vehicles.

by on May.24, 2012

California State Sen. Alex Padilla in a Google autonomous vehicle prototype.

With both Democrats and Republicans in rare agreement, autonomous driving is coming a lot closer to reality in California.

By a vote of 37-0, the California State Senate approved a bill that would next establish guidelines on and oversight of self-driving vehicles.

The bill charges the Department of the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles with providing recommendations to the legislature on “the safe operation of autonomous vehicles on
California’s public roads” with and without a licensed driver present.

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However, the driverless provision can’t come into effect until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration draws up federal guidelines on autonomous cars operated without an operator at least ready to take over in the event of an emergency.